Joan Morrissey explores her cynical (and slightly mystical) side
There’s nothing like a depression session to get you in the festive mood. Baa humbug. If you would prefer to drill large screws into your temples than listen to regurgitated, repeated Christmas tunes and poxy old number ones that will continue to plague us like Shakin’ Steven’s bad buzz of snow everywhere during a merry Christmas, may I suggest some alternatives? The Christmas songs I want to unabashedly promote are the delectable Lisa Hannigan’s version of “Silent Night” and Bell X1’s “Rocky Took a Lover”.
It actually vexes me that young teenage girls are more enthused by the likes of Jedward, than the less self-promotingformerbeau of Damien Rice. YouTube “Silent Night by Lisa Hannigan” – it is, quite simply, hauntingly beautiful. It was originally a ghost track on Damien’s album, O. I would love to hear this on the radio during the season of merriment. Lisa sings acapella, adding to the feeling of desolate isolation that resonates from such an angelic voice. This has surely got to be a more realistic and genuinely holistic, human experience than the anti-climatic, over-hyped disappointment that is (as Bart once wisely remarked), “Santa’s birthday”. No, it’s not a happy tune – but whoever said Christmas had to be represented by a singular dimension of human emotion when we should aspire to encompass the kaleidoscope of human experience?
The commercial world may have tarnished my other musical representation of Christmas. Another Irish song, this band also once collaborated creatively with Mr. Rice. Bell x1’s “Rocky Took a Lover”, is more than the jingle for Dublin Bus; it is a critique of the three wise men on their way to Bethlehem and the creationism versus evolution debate. The band are either very historically informed, or biblically critical, or possibly both. In the song, they refer to the ability of the three wise men to navigate the night sky, and who:
“came a long way/
following that pin hole in the sky”
on their way to Bethlehem. Historical artifact monuments like Newgrange indicate knowledge of the constellations and orbital movement above and around us; for the sake of this article, we shall assume the band are merely addressing rather than critiquing the idea of following a dot in the sky to meet some random baby in a hay barn. The song does however raise the existential question of karma, and the evolutionary genius of natural selection that has allowed karma to regulate our posterior “I don’t believe in any old Jesus, if there was a god then why is my arse the perfect height for kicking?”. Albeit, the band once admitted that this song was inspired mid-peep out their back kitchen window. They were watching a homeless man who was staying in their backyard, having a conversation with a lady, the morning after the night before, and their hypothesis of what the conversation would be about.
It’s the supposed season of goodwill, so can we please save a thought for the misfortunate begrudgers like myself who are driven demented by unimaginative manufactured crap resounding from every subwoofer? There are a lot more artistically significant, seasonally relevant tunes than the nonsense to which we are overexposed every winter. If too much merriment and snow leaves you feeling out in the cold, (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun) bear a thought for poor oul Grandma. The only thing I want to hear people singing down the road in the middle of a winter’s night, mid-party season is “Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas eve, you could say there’s no such thing as Santa, but as me and Grandpa we believe”… choon!